‘That phone call is due’: Mabil silences critic with La Liga move

If success is the best form of revenge, Awer Mabil’s move to La Liga is the perfect reply to one of his harshest critics. The 26-year-old Socceroos winger is set to become the first outfield Australian player to play in the Spanish top flight for 16 years after signing a four-year contract with Cadiz FC on Friday.

Mabil described the move to one of the best leagues in world football as “a dream”, but it’s one that, just a year ago, he was told would never happen. At a time when hewas struggling for game time at Danish club Midtjylland, Mabil revealed he was told by someone with a strong influence on his career that he didn’t have what it takes to play at a higher level.

Awer Mabil has clinched a move to La LIga club Cadiz.Credit:Dean Sewell

Rather than be put off by such a harsh assessment of his ability, Mabil took it as motivation. He sought a short-term loan to Turkish club Kasimpasa, where he regained match fitness and form. From there, he won back his place in the Socceroos squad, playing a key role in the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup including scoring what turned out to be the winning penalty in the shootout against Peru.

Just over a week later, Mabil has been unveiled as a Cadiz player. And, after his La Liga debut, the first phone call Mabil will make will be to his detractor.

“I still remember this message, Somebody told me that I wasn’t good enough to play for a top-five league,” Mabil said. “That somebody is probably not happy now, but I took that as a motivation.

“I told them I will call you in one year’s time when I am playing in a top-five league. Maybe that phone call will be due after my debut.”

Mabil will become one of a select few Australians to have played in the Spanish top flight and the first Australian outfield player to do so since John Aloisi.

His debut could see him come up against the Socceroos captain Mat Ryan, with Cadiz pitted against Real Sociedad in the first game of the season. Even though Ryan is one of Mabil’s close friends, the winger is still itching to prove a point to his national team leader.

“I am going to have a good pre-season, make sure I work hard on my finishing so when I do face him I can score and I can tag him and say, ‘Yeah I told you’,” Mabil said. “It’s something we joke about all the time, me and Maty.”

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